Hello, people of the internet!
I first heard of this book when my friend Sarah from The Little Contemporary Corner told me the author, Angie Thomas, will be doing a book signing in Manchester, talking her novel, The Hate U Give. We both went and it was an emotional, funny and intelligent event! I will be uploading a guest post discussing the event in more detail on The Little Contemporary Corner soon.
I bought the book there and, even before reading it, I knew it would be one of the most important books I will ever read.
Title: The Hate U Give
Author: Angie Thomas
Publication date: Â 6th April 2017
Publisher: Walker Books
“What’s the point of having a voice if you’re gonna be silent in those moments you shouldn’t be?”
Sixteen-year-old Starr lives in two worlds: the poor neighbourhood where she was born and raised and her posh high school in the suburbs. The uneasy balance between them is shattered when Starr is the only witness to the fatal shooting of her unarmed best friend, Khalil, by a police officer. Now what Starr says could destroy her community. It could also get her killed.
Once I started reading this book, I couldn’t put it down. It’s unlike any young adult novel I’ve read in the best ways possible. It really opened my eyes to different cultures and it has taught me a lot about the police brutality, racism and white privilege. I knew before I read this book what is happening in America and the Black Lives Matter movement, but The Hate U Give made it hit home in an emotional way. Angie Thomas has said at the book signing that the movement inspired her to write The Hate U Give and, let me tell you, I’m so glad she did.
What I love most about The Hate U Give is how even if the reader is part of a different culture, it’s still easy to understand what the characters are going through and connect to them through that way. I have never been to America and have only learnt about the Black Lives Matter movement through mostly the news and social media. But, with The Hate U Give, the way Angie Thomas writes the characters and setting makes it easy for anyone to visualise them and understand how they’re feeling when they’re confronting racism and violence. I have learnt more from Starr and Angie Thomas about these situations more than any news outlet has, to be honest. It’s so powerful, I was right there with Starr throughout her journey.
Also, can I just say that I love Starr? Despite the fact she’s scared and grieving, she is determined and brave to do the right thing. Through her narrative, I connected with her and I giggled at the funny things she said. When she used her voice to fight back, I cheered her on. Speaking of her voice, the code-switching in Starr’s narrative is brilliantly written! For those who don’t know, code-switching is when someone changes the way they speak, whether it be for a change in audience, situation etc. How Starr code-switches depends on who she’s talking to: her family and friends from her neighbourhood, her boyfriend and friends at her school and law enforcement. It demonstrates how she has to change just save face and even keep safe! The code-switching here adds to the book’s atmosphere and simply works fantastically to the book’s advantage.
Side note: for those who believe people who don’t use “standard” way of speaking are unintelligent are wrong! A lot of the most eye-opening and intelligent conversations and thoughts come from characters who don’t use “standard” language. This is something I studied whilst at university and was glad to hear Angie Thomas discuss this at the book signing as well as implement it in her novel.
Everyone must read this! Seriously, you must! It’s one of the best books I’ve ever read and teaches the importance of using your voice, no matter how scared you are, as speaking does more than keeping silent. The Hate U Give has taught me a lot and I appreciate that.
Thank you, Angie Thomas, for using your words to write this amazing book.
I will give The Hate U Give 5 stars out of 5. It’s brutal, tragic yet funny, emotional and intelligent. Everyone must read it.
Thank you for reading!